A/N: As described in the summary this fanfic is very AU. Max is still apart of the Manticore structure, there was no escape and no pulse. But Logan is still stirring up trouble with his cyber hacks and journalistic views. Max and her siblings are given the task to quiet him, but Manticore may have bitten off more than they can handle in trying to get to Logan Cale.
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Chapter 1: More Than Meets The Eye
They were coming for him. They didn't think he knew, but he had known long before they did, long before it had even occurred to them. They didn't remember, didn't know what he was. If they knew they wouldn't try to kill him. He was the piece they had been desperately searching for, even though they hadn't realized it yet.
Let them come, he was ready for them, he would always be ready. He looked forward to it, maybe they would be a match for him. Brain versus brawn, but he shouldn't under estimate them, maybe there was more to them than met the eye. He hoped so, he needed the challenge. But right now he had to move and get things set up, won't do to be here like a sitting duck, that was no way to fight a war.
She hated city ops. There were too many people, too much noise and she always felt like everything was closing in on her. The only good things was that they could blend in and for a while they were just like everyone else. Sometimes it felt nice to be like any other human being, instead of a revved up super solider.
"Max," came the familiar voice of Ben in her ear. "We all are all in position. I have the exit leading from the rear of the garage, Zack has the lobby door and Sil has the front garage entrance. We have you covered."
Max nodded her head although she knew no one could see her. It was pitch black outside and they were all in black including black face paint. She was poised on the roof of the building across from her intended target, Foggle Towers. The target was a resident in a penthouse apartment not quite on the top floor, but because of they way the building was constructed a small area of the apartment she was headed for had a skylight. That was her ticket inside, sometimes she didn't understand why normal people left themselves so vulnerable. But then again their intended target was far from normal, pissing off Manticore and a number of other military and government agencies was not the most intelligent thing to do.
Unfortunately for Logan Cale his time had run out, and in a big way. She didn't understand why they just didn't have him arrested, why they had to send in 4 X-5s to take him out, but then it wasn't necessary for her to understand. Time to get this over with, then back to the rendezvous point.
Max sailed through the night landing quieter than a cat on the roof of Foggle Towers. Sliding down to the sky light, she unhooked her harness and pried the pane open. They had disabled the security system to the building hours ago, and the residents had been informed that the security company would be sending someone out to check the system in the morning. These people thought they were safe in their insulated little world, little did they know.
Max landed on her feet in a hallway, the front door at her back. The first thing that struck her was how quiet it was, so quiet that even the air was still. Too still, like no one had passed through it in a very long time. She moved stealthily into the kitchen, it was dark and quiet. There was no aroma of food having been prepared, no dirty dishes, no nothing. She moved into the darkened dining room, and peered into the living room. They were both furnished but there were no personal touches, no pictures, books or magazines laying around. She glanced briefly into a room that must have been an office at one point, but besides a desk and a filing cabinet there was nothing there.
She didn't have to go through the rest of the apartment to know that it was empty, but she did so any way. She would have to report on what she found and telling her superiors that she hadn't checked every single room would be unacceptable. The hallway bathroom was her next stop and like te rest of the apartment it was empty and sterile. The guestroom was devoid of any furniture, and the closet was empty. Max crept down to the master bedroom. The room was furnished and still held a whiff of something masculine, it was a smell that intrigued her. The bed was neatly made, the curtains drawn and surprisingly a bedside lamp was on. Creeping further into the room she saw a piece of paper was propped against the base of the lamp. She would have ignored it, if it had not been addressed to X5-452.
The shock that rippled through her was enough to make her stagger from the room, but not before she grabbed the single sheaf of paper. Max wasted no time climbing back through the sky light and onto the roof. Once there she rigged herself back into her harness and got the hell out of dodge.
"Abort!!" She whispered loudly into the special mic that was sewn into her clothing. She didn't need to see the team to know that they had fallen back, blended with the night and were heading to the rendezvous point. After years of training together they just knew how to anticipate each other's needs.
Max made her way down to the alley and swung up into the seat of the compact motorcycle that had been provided to each one of them. The rendezvous point was a one bedroom flat in a rough section of the city. It would only take her 20 minutes to get there, and in the mean time that gave her plenty of time to think about what she had found, or what she hadn't found.
"All clear," came over the ear piece from Zack, closely followed by Ben. After another 5 minutes Sil sounded her clear and that just left Max. She could already see the ugly squat building, and she felt relief flood through her. She wasn't sure why but tonight had her on edge, and it wasn't a feeling that she liked.
She carried the bike up the stairs; they had decided earlier that 4 black motorcycles parked outside would attract too much notice, so they brought the bikes inside. Although thinking about it, Max was sure someone seeing her carrying a motorcycle up the stairs like it was a small sack of groceries would attract a fair amount of attention.
"All clear," she whispers and the door to the flat opens silently. Ben reaches out and takes the bike from her as Zack pulls her inside. The room was shrouded in shadows, but they didn't even need those to see clearly thanks to enhanced genetics. Max fell onto the sofa next to Sil and took the bottle of water that was handed to her.
"What happened?" Zack asks sitting on the floor in front of the sofa. Max took a moment to get her thoughts together before launching into her discovery at Foggle Towers.
"First of all there was nobody there," she starts.
"Well maybe intel was wrong and the target was out for the evening," Ben interrupted.
"No, nobody there as in moved, long gone," Max clarified. "They place was mostly furnished but there was nothing indicating WHO might have lived there, and it's been empty for a while."
"Alright, so the target has moved but what made you call an abort?" Zack asks staring hard at Max. She pulled the piece of paper from her inside pocket and held it up.
"It's one thing to move, but quite another to leave a little note for the person coming to send you to your eternal rest," she quips. They all stare at the folded piece of paper. All 3 of them try to remain stoic upon seeing that it was addressed to X5-452.
"Who the hell is this guy?" Ben asks.
"Have you read what's inside?" Sil asks sitting forward.
"No, I thought it best to get the hell out of there," Max shrugs. "The place was empty, but it could have been rigged with explosives, or some one could have been watching us. Obviously he knew we were coming."
"Could this have just been a training exercise?" Sil asks Zack trying to piece this all together.
"Anything is possible, but I highly doubt it," he replies. "This guy is very real, and he has caused major problems for the military and government, especially top secret projects. They want him taken care of in a major way."
"I think it's time to read what he has to say," Ben says nodding to the paper that Max is still holding. "He some how not only knew we were coming, but he has the name of the person who was sent after him. That makes him a whole hell of a lot more dangerous than just some guy who writes accurate conspiracy theories.
Max had to agree, but she didn't want to read the words that this man had left for her. He had made this personal and she didn't appreciate that, on second thought he probably didn't appreciate being targeted for assassination. He was probably taking that quite personally. She unfolded the paper and began to read out loud, no sense keeping it to herself.
X5-452 or would you rather I call you Max? Probably not, that is your SECRET name. I apologize for not staying around for the party, it is not quite time for us to meet, but soon I promise you.
Your superiors have underestimated me, they have forgotten, they don't know what I am. Maybe they never knew. Tell them to try a little harder and they can find me, but next time I will not be so nice as to leave just a note, and Max they'll send you to me again.
It wasn't signed, so they couldn't be one hundred percent positive that it had been left by the target. It could be someone else playing games with them, but Max highly doubted it.
"I don't like this," Ben hisses getting up and pacing the room. "Only we know our secret names, Lydecker doesn't even know them, how the hell does this guy know?"
"We have to get back to base," Zack says standing also. "Let them figure this out, they screwed up not us."
"I agree with Ben, I don't like this," Sil says grabbing there gear and beginning the process of erasing their presence from the room. "This guy is smarter than they gave him credit for."
"Yeah, let's go," Max agrees not liking the feeling that washes over her. Her stomach clinches tightly as they hit the street, heat curling around inside of her like an insidious being. Her toes curl in anticipation of something yet to come. Max feels her heart race and her senses burn with something she can't explain. She looks around quickly, but sees nothing, nothing out of the ordinary. She climbs on her motorcycle, she hates city ops.
A figure in silver stands atop of a building a half a block away, and watches as four black motorcycles race through the quiet streets of Seattle. He watches as they blend with the shadows until all he can see of them are the images he has committed to memory.
He also feels his stomach clench in anticipation, but unlike HER, he knows why; and he welcomes the feeling. He welcomes the heat that pools through his veins; he revels in the sensations that course through his body. The headiness and thrill are feelings he looks forward too.
He knows they will be back, he will see her again. They won't give up, he has caused too much trouble, made them look like fools on one too many occasions. But they don't understand what they are dealing with. He smiles in the darkness, he'll be more than happy to remind them.
A/N: Please hit that review button and tell me what you think!